Saturday, October 20, 2018

¡alebrijes! dia de muertos—Milagro—SE Portland



  Raising Spirits

    This original production, for the Day of the Dead celebrations, is written and directed by Georgina Escobar and is playing at their space, 525 SE Stark St., through November 11th.  For more information, go to their site at www.milagro.org

    All cultures have their own ways of respecting those that have passed on.  Some believe they pass on to a type of Heaven; others hold onto the thought that we will be reincarnated into another life; some feel their presence is always around us, et. al.  The American Halloween is an off-shoot of that, as we disguise ourselves with costumes and masks to fool evil spirits that roam the night.  As a kid, the most potent image I had was the classical piece, “Night on Bald Mountain,” that was animated by Disney in “Fantasia.”  Very scary.

    But now, to this story, presented as an adult fairy tale, and so we begin:  Once Upon a Time…there were three guardian spirits (or, perhaps, Muses, in the artistic vernacular) that were searching for their master, Pedro (Robi Arce), an artist, who was in love with the elusive, Lillian (Yesenia Lopez), who was betrothed to another. 

    But, back to his totems, or spirit guides…they consisted of Florinda (Tara Hershberger), a dedicated duck, whose duty was to keep him grounded; Bartolome (Matthew Sepeda), a crafty cat, a symbol of his mortality; and Felipe (Giovanni Alva), a restless rooster, reminding him that another day will always dawn.  Just one little hitch in their plans—Pedro is trapped in the world between life and death, and Le Muerte (Patrica Alvitez), Death, has her own plans on keeping him in her domain.

    How this all turns out, of course, you’ll have to discover for yourselves when you see it.  But, like all good fairy tales, they lived…hopefully…ever after.  “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”  Passion, Hope, Imagination, Love, Artistry…all important aspects of a well-realized Life.  You notice that Fame and Fortune never appeared in this missive, so take that to heart.

    This is truly an enlightening show, considering the elements going on in our present world situations.  And, although the language and situations may seem different from this fellow’s “gringo” culture, it is good to know there is much to learn about this wide world, in which one should embrace other perspectives.  Or, as my friend, Dave, who came with me to see this show said, “I’m not sure I understand it, but I’m enjoying the heck out of it, anyway  And so say I.
The production is a whirlwind of excitement in song, music, puppets, masks, stylized movement, dance…a magical embrace that goes beyond cultures to reach the heart and soul of the dreamers still left in this chaotic atmosphere.  “There is nothing to fear, but Fear itself.”

    There is many to thank for this imaginative piece, beginning with the director and writer, Escobar, flinging ideas, like stardust, onto an unsuspecting crowd to add to their lives.  The cast is all first-rate, having to be versatile in many mediums but up to the task in all their glory.  Original music by Luis Guerra, scenic design by Emily Wilken, Lighting by Trevor Sargent, costumes by Jessica Bobillot, Props by Sarah Andrews, Puppets by Mindy Escobar-Leanse, et. al., all pros in their fields, who added greatly to the success of this production.
I recommend this show.  

    If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Small Mouth Sounds—Artists Rep—SW Portland


“Silence is Golden”


     This rather unusual premise for a story is written by Bess Wohl and directed by Shawn Lee.  It is playing at their space, 1515 SW Morrison St., through November 4th.  For more information, go to their site at www.artistsrep.org

     “Noises compete, grasshopper, as silence retreats.”  Sometimes silence can be deafening, as it is in this story.  We are so wrapped up in our worlds of computers, texting, and artificial noises, that we fail to communicate through a simple hug or smile, or a knowing look of encouragement.  Our world may have been created with a (Big) Bang and it’s likely it will end the same way.  What we have wrought, so shall we reap…unless we find that Quiet Place, not only on the outer crusts of this planet, but in the inner stillness of our being.

     This play explores Silence in unusual ways.  The one who expounds the most, the Teacher (Mary McDonald-Lewis), really may have the least to impart to her students at this retreat, all there to take a break from the world and/or find some sort of peace.  The main element to be adhered to is silence in this EST-type of surroundings. 

     The verbose, Joan (Susannah Mars) and her lover, the more refined, Judy (Ayanna Berkshire), seem to be there to work out some personal issue.  The gregarious, Alicia (Kelly Godell), is a product of words but seems intent on translating them into some forgotten knowledge that has escaped her to this point.  Ned (Darius Pierce) is a socially awkward individual, trying to find inroads to adapting socially to an unfamiliar world to him.

     Rodney (John San Nicolas) is a video guru of finding one’s path through yoga, but senses there is something important he has yet to learn.  And Jan (Michael Mendelson), a quiet person to begin with, but is reaching out to try and encompass a larger world he is not familiar with.  All searchers, and their journeys will conflict, connect and invade their very psyches before this trip is completed.  More I cannot tell you without spoiling the discoveries.

     This is almost completely a who’s who of the Artists Rep’s family and a talented ensemble they are as a cast.  Godell, as a bit of a flake, is perfect in her utter unawareness (I know people like her).  Mars is wonderful as a well-meaning friend who acts before she thinks about it.  Berkshire has a noble stillness to her being, pent up inside but wanting to expand.  San Nicolas is perfect as the smirking know-it-all until the mask begins to fall.  Mendelson is a gem as his character displays a quiet intensity as the newbie who yearns for understanding and acceptance.  McDonald-Lewis is a great voice actor who is so good you can almost see her, as she muddles through the “lessons.”  And Pierce is amazing in his naturalness in his monologue, as he exposes himself, and you truly feel for all the pained people in this world who are struggling to just be heard and understood.  It is an insightful trek for all of us and Lee has carefully led us successfully on this safari.

I recommend this play (nudity in one scene) and if you choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Marat/Sade—Twilight Theater Company—N. Portland



Tiptoe Through the Crazies

     This psycho-drama/dark comedy/musical is written by Peter Weiss and directed by Dorinda Toner (Twilight’s Artistic Director).  It is playing at their space, 7515 N. Brandon Ave. (corner of Lombard, small parking lot across the street), through October 28th.  For more information, go to their site at www.twilighttheatercompany.org

     There should be a disclaimer (of sorts) in the program to the fact that “any resemblance to real life situations or people is purely…intentional!”  To say this is topical is truly an understatement.  Of course, this story is set in the late 1700’s to the early 1800’s in Paris, the time of the guillotine, French Revolution (Jean-Paul Marat, dissenter), the Inquisition, the Marquis de Sade (and his unique take on pleasure and pain) and Napoleon. 

     As you can see, it was not the romantic era of the 1920’s, when Paris was the hub of such artists/writers as Hemingway, Dali, Fitzgerald, Toklas, et. al.  These were revolutionaries of a different ilk…or were they?!  The most lasting kind of change comes with evolution over time, such as the young folks now opposing gun violence and pollution, and the MeToo Movement demanding respect and equality for women.  “Times, they are a-changin’.”

     This story, though, takes place in an asylum, where the new regime, Coulmier (Stan Yeend) and company, believe that play therapy will make inroads to understanding the mentally disturbed.  De Sade (Randy Patterson) being an inmate and writer, takes on the task of directing this band of misfits into an important saga of Marat (Greg Prosser) and the French Revolution, before he is stabbed to death in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday (Eva Andrews).  Among Marat’s followers are an ex-priest, Roux (Samuel Alexander Hawkins), his nurse Simonne (Jennifer Madison Logan), as well as, at one time, Corday and her horny boyfriend, Duperret (Skye McLaren Walton).

     To enable things to blaze along, there is a type of Greek Chorus (Kaitlynn Baugh, Maddy Gourlay, Jeremy Abe and Blaine Vincent III), singing ditties to enlighten us to the guts of the tale.  And to keep us all on track, (in verse, no less), is the Herald (Jeff Gibberson), a type of Host/Narrator/Jester.  Put this all together with ribald songs, stylized dance/movement, grizzly humor, lusty situations, murder, a touch of depravity, a dose of despair…shake it all about and you have this…Marat/Sade.  If this sounds like a show for discriminating adults only, you’d be dead right!

     This is not an easy production to produce, even for the most seasoned of troupes, but Toner and cast have done a pretty amazing job with it.  The set is simple but effective, as is the mood lighting, and the 20 plus roles, all are quite well handled.  The major roles mentioned, give a chilling account of incidents in history that echo even today in our current situations.  This is a timeless piece and is given a very good showing by a talented group, especially Toner.  Standing a notch higher in acting, is Gibberson, as our guide.  His use of timing, pauses, and subtle nuances are quite remarkable.  I’ve touted him in the past and he is certainly a talent to be reckoned with.

     I recommend this show but heed the subject matter.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Hurl—Corrib Theatre—New Expressive Works


Photo by Adam Liberman
“The Game’s Afoot”


     The U. S. Premiere of this serio-comedy is written by Charlie O’Neill and directed by Tracy Cameron Francis.  It is playing at their current space, 810 SE Belmont, through October 28th.  For more information, go to their site at www.corribtheatre.org or call 503-389-0579.

     We are all our brother’s keepers and the earth is jointly our home.  With all the controversy now as to immigrant issues, not only here but world-wide, this is a very timely story.  Why a government would choose to foster violence and poverty in their own country, and have their own people fleeing from their homeland, is beyond me.  But it seems to be a growing epidemic on this good earth.  The solution should be to stamp out the root causes of such disruption but, until then, we need to be a comfort and refuge to those seeking asylum.

     This story takes place in the present day in the west of Ireland.  It seems that immigrants from Eastern Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, etc. have also arrived on the shores of Ireland.  Besides being driven out of their own countries, they all feel the need to make themselves indispensable to their adopted homeland.  Enter a one-time priest, a bit of a tippler, Lofty (Clara-Liis Hillier), who may have lost his way in God’s Eyes, but still has the love of a game called Hurling (a type of hockey on a field).

     And so, it seems his destiny may be to lead this band of misfits into the arena, in which they might be able to show their mettle and determination.  In this motley crew is Musa (James Dixon), Fatmata (Falynn Burton) and an assorted ensemble of rainbow-colored individuals (Kenneth Dembo, Heath Hyun Houghton, Wynee Hu and Alec Cameron Lugo) that may create history and be allowed to shine their true hues on the turf.

But not everybody is happy with such an explosion of color in this country, mainly Rusty (Cynthia Shur Petts), who does everything possible to block their progress.  But when these noble vagabonds begin to make some headway at the games, he is willing to try any sort of devious methods to stop their progress.  The story has elements from the films, Hoop Dreams, Rocky, Hoosiers, et al.  But it also embraces the more universal issues of self-worth, humane behavior and respect for the individual, regardless of background, color or beliefs.

     The show has been located on an essentially bare stage, a playing field, with only some benches and hurling sticks as props, which had to have been a nightmare to choreograph for the cast, and director, Francis, who shines as well.  The cast also plays multiple characters, as well as their own team and the opposing side!  Quite a feat but these actors are all pros, as I have seen them in other incarnations before, always successful. 

     Also, kudos to the lighting designer, Sarah Hughey, who had to create mood and setting with a handful of lights and did it very well.  An exciting show, boosted a notch upward by cross-gender and cross-cultural casting, which is as it should be.  
     I highly recommend this ensemble work and, if you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Wakey Wakey—Portland Playhouse—NE Portland




     “Rise & Shine”

     This exploratory story of the human psyche is written by Will Eno and directed by Gretchen Corbett.  It is playing at their space, 602 NE Prescott St. (parkin lot 2 blocks North on 6th), through October 21st.  For more information, go to their site at www.portlandplayhouse.org or call 503-488-5822.

     Since this seems to be a “sensory” story, involving all the senses of a man on the verge of something, perhaps, extraordinary.  Using, maybe, the same path the main character of Guy (Michael O’Connell) does, I am confronted/invaded by possibly like memories of past events, such as the last few moments of Kubrick’s, “2001:  A Space Odyssey;” or the old man’s recurring vision of his family across an uncrossable stream in Bergman’s classic, “Wild Strawberries;” or my own visions of laying, as a child, on a hillside, and watching trains in the valley rushing by and imaging stories in my head of the people on them and knowing that someday I would be a writer.

     Guy is a man in a wheelchair (that he appears not to need) and sharing with us memories of a lifetime through visuals, sounds, music, a type of cue cards, as triggers of memories, perhaps, and inviting us to likewise notice and embrace our world around us before Time, The Great Equalizer, catches up with us.  Looking for meanings in lost phrases, ruing over regrets…letting go, seems to be the key advice for those wishing to move forward.

     Then, into his world appears Lisa (Nikki Weaver), a type of nurse/guardian, perhaps, or possibly more to the point, a gatekeeper.  She is a comforter for him…patiently watching, soothing, picking up pieces of lost thoughts.  Guy seems to be enveloped in little things, strains of familiar tunes, sounds and sights of nature, but always in the act of waiting…waiting for what?  The next act in a drama that is just out of reach; another stab at a life lived and…misplaced; peace at the end of the tunnel?  Or is his purpose, perhaps, to pass the torch on to us, with full understanding that endings are never final, nor beginnings, pre-determined.

     Corbett is definitely an actor’s director, as she has managed to infuse little nuances into all the little nooks and crannies of Guy’s moments.  And O’Connell is a perfect choice for the role, as he is so natural (as is Weaver) that you feel you are sitting right there in the room with him, as he shares his thoughts with you.  Eno has written an introspective story, and yet it seems to resonate with everyone…a rare gift as a writer
.  
     I recommend this play.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ordinary Days—Broadway Rose—Tigard, OR




       “The Big Picture”

     This charming musical has music and lyrics by Adam Gwon, is directed by Isaac Lamb and music direction and piano by Eric Nordin.  It is playing at their space, 12850 SW Grant Ave. in Tigard.  For more information, go to their site at www.broadwayrose.org or call 503-620-5262.

     We are all interconnected and we all have our stories to tell.  Sometimes full of regrets…sometimes of joy, sometimes both…but we do matter because our stories are stories within other peoples’ stories.  And so, the big picture may not be for the big buck or the fame…but to make a lot of small, positive differences in other folks’ lives.  We all have our roles to play, as the Bard would say, so best make the best of it before “…our little lives are rounded with a sleep.”

     In this production, all four roles are sung throughout, virtually no spoken dialogue and so their songs are the story.  Essentially there are two stories of two pairs of people going on.  There is Deb (Quinland Fitzgerald), a small-town girl moving to the Big Apple to make a Big mark in life in a Big way.  But, instead, ends up in graduate school, still searching for that elusive…something out there. 

     Along the way she meets Warren (Seth M. Renne), who seems to live life vicariously.  He makes leaflets with witty sayings, which he passes out to people on the street, and fronts for an artist who’s in jail and who has a fab apartment that overlooks the whole of the city.  He also collects bits and pieces of people’s lives that have been discarded, like old photos, scraps of notes, and a fateful notebook that will lead him to Deb…and their relationship then evolves.

     Then, there is Jason (Benjamin Tissell), another newbie to the big city, who hooks up with Claire (Kailey Rhodes) and since they both seems to sense an attraction, they move in together.  But attraction alone is only going to last so long, as they both have past histories that will invade their personal spaces.  Also, living together shows up the little differences between people, as to their own personal stuff, as to what they like in entertainment, as to goals, even little things like choices in wine or type of foods they like and friends they have.  So, as they say, the honeymoon phase dwindles in face of cold, hard reality.

     All these lives will connect in a very odd but clever way.  I cannot tell you more without being a spoiler.  But what seems like chaos at first in staging (only a set of stairs building, tower-like, to a piano at the top of it, designer, Emily Wilken), becomes a whole world and because of the lyrics (Gwon), terrific voices (the cast), the amazing piano-man (Nordin), some subtle but clever lighting (Carl Faber) and a very talented director (Lamb), who blends it all, amazing well, into a lovely story of love, loss and life.  Reality is in the “…eye of the beholder” here, and so it is with this world, as simple elements, on the surface, magically become a whole world of connecting and conflicting events.

     I highly recommend this show.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Rhinoceros—The Shout House—SE Portland


“The Lemmings Are Coming…!”


     This avant-garde, dark comedy was written by Eugene Ionesco (translated by Derek Prouse), produced by Cleaver Enough theatre and directed, as a staged reading, by Valerie Asbell (Founder of Cleaver Enough).  Because of many unforeseen circumstances, this two-three week run of a full production ended up as only one night as a staged reading.  For more information on future plans of the company, go to their site at www.cleverenough.org

     Imagine a circumstance where an incompetent, egomaniacal boob stands up in front of you, spewing out utter nonsense and promising to fulfill this blather if he were King.  Then imagine a circumstance where this nitwit is offered just such a position, and his herds of followers bow to his every whim, and blindly accept every blathering he utters.  Soon they are espousing his “holey” words as truth, even as the world they knew and loved collapses around them.  In the end, he leads them to a cliff and proclaims they should all jump.  In this setting, those beings are called lemmings, in this incarnation of them in this play, they are called Rhinos.

     And, even though, this play was written many years ago, it still has a prophetic ring nowadays, which is, in part, why Asbell chose this show.  In it, we see the beginning of a collapse of a society in which to survive, one must conform.  Berenger (Andrew Hallas) is a bit of a lazy, drunken no-good-nik.  His friend, Jean (Alex Albrecht), on the other hand, is a fastidious neat-nik.  But changes are about to occur.  An illness (snort) overtakes Jean and he begins to change into what the village has been recently over-run by, an ignorant beast.

     In time, the Jean he knew, has evaporated.  Only a co-worker, Dudard (Rian Turner) and Berenger’s girlfriend, Daisy (Emily Smith), seem uninfected, but soon the grunting (snort, snort) of these mindless minions sounds like a sweet lullaby to them.  In the end, he might be the last man standing against this onslaught of ignorance and blind conformity with no self-identity left.  If such a silly event should occur in real life, of course, we’d all be smart enough to see through such nonsense, wouldn’t we?!  (snort, grunt…!)

     It’s unfortunate that this difficult and timely show will not see the light of day at this point because the cast is quite good (others of the townspeople consist of KJ McElrath, Terry Lybecker, Leilani Oleari, Kate Belden, Brent McMorris, Katy Philip, Neil Wade Freer, John Bryant, Troy Sawyer, Athena McElrath, Shaun Patrick Hennessey, and Mark Milner).  This is not an easy show, even for a seasoned production company, to do, so it is daring for a novice theatre to tackle it.  But Ashbell has done a very fine job of casting it and has some clever touches in the interpretation and presentation of it.  They do deserve a chance to shine, so hope they continue to scour the town for an appropriate space to perform and backing for their shows.  Hope to see more of them in the future!
--DJS

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Whiskey Dixie & the Big Wet Country—Imago Theatre—SE Portland


Jest Lookin’ Fer Lovin’


     This original, “raunchy outlaw-country musical,” is written by and starring singer/actor, Amanda Richards and directed by Serah Pope, with music direction by Steve Moore and choreography by Jaime Langton.  It is playing at the Imago space, 17 SE 8th Ave. (off (Burnside) through October 13th.  Parking is a challenge in this area so plan your time accordingly.  For more information, go to their site at www.whiskeydixiemusical.com

     Dreams may come, and dreams may go…but a hard man is always good to find.  That might be the mantra of this show.  It is full of plays on words, double meanings, mime, some Rap, even a nod to the MeToo Movement and a whole lotta country music.  But, to be clear, here is their take on the play: “This is Rated R for graphic language, sexual content, graphic subject matter, mention of sexual assault, guns, violence, tasteless jokes, politically incorrect stuff and some other messed up shit.”  If you are still reading this at this point, “play on…and cursed be the coward that cries—enough!”

     We all have dreams, many of which will probably go unrealized, or be modified to such an extent that we hardly recognize them anymore.  But dreaming is a part of our nature and so we trudge onward, perhaps looking for Mr. Goodbar in all the wrong places.  Whiskey’s (Richards) dream is to be a big-time Country singer (“Country singers are for indoors, Western singers are for outdoors”) in Nashville and be on the Conan O’Brien show.  The latter part of that dream is realized as she gets an invite from him.

     But that means leaving her friends, who are like family, and her favorite, small-town bar.  They may not be the cream of the crop of society but they are her buds.  There is the braggart and womanizer, Jerry (Tyler Shilstone), who is the King of Tit Hill and lets everyone know it.  He even takes a greenhorn lover, Paul (Mac Kimmerle), under his wing to teach him some of the finer points in satisfying a lady.  Roger (Dennis Fitzpatrick) is essentially the town drunk, who says and does all the wrong things.

     Other folks of this watering hole are Barbara (Anita Clark) who is always up for a good time.  Then there is the newbie in town, Gladys (Diana Marie), who will soon be introduced to the rules of the game.  Also, there is the indispensable, Trish (Brandie Sylfae), the bartender, who quietly sees it all but, like a simmering volcano, does have her erupting point.  And, finally, near the winding down of her departure, the owner’s grandson, Dick (John Brunner), becomes the new owner and, with his mother, Mary Ann (Michele Brouse-Peoples) may upset the familiar surroundings of this haven for societal misfits.  Will Whiskey follow her dreams, or stay and face some of the hard facts of life?  Come see it for yourself, if you dare?!

     Richards has done an outstanding job of wearing several hats (lead actor, writer and producer) of this show, so it must be a labor of love and it shows.  The songs, although R-rated, are musically quite engaging and very well performed by a talented cast.  (I can’t tell you the names of any of them because there was no listing in the program.)  Both Richards and Brunner take honors as the most accomplished of the bunch of singers.  My personal favorite, though, in acting, was Sylfae, as the bartender, and her explosive monologue at the end was terrifically delivered.  Pope has done a good job of casting the show and keeping the action moving on a very clever set.  And Langton (a fine performer and actor in her own right) has captured the dancing of the country bar to a tee.  Also, Moore, with his band (Chad McAllister, Christine McAllister and Joey Harmon) gave an authenticity to the setting and never overpowered the actors.

     It is curious, though, although Richards is targeting a specific audience by making it raunchy (the enthusiastic crowd proved that with their cheers and applause), underneath it all, there is a very good and human story that, even without all the blatant, sexual overtones, was quite compelling.  This is obviously not a play for everyone but I thought the whole production deserves a thumbs up.

     On a personal note, though, I was somewhat handicapped by being in the last row—H, and, although it is tiered seating for the audience, G & H rows are on the same level.  And I was sitting behind a large man wearing a hat and the spotlight was directly behind me, so anything that took place center stage, I had to crane my neck to one side or the other to see the action.  When you have a reviewer, its usually customary to assign them a favorable seat for the best view of the show.  As I said, a personal note and advice as to not let them seat you in Row H.

     I recommend this show.  If you do see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Cozy Christmas in Concert



     As a Christmas memory, I remember my Grams, when I was a kid, baking home made biscuits in an old, wrought-iron, wood-burning stove.  And in a black iron skillet on top of it, she was making white, sausage gravy to smother those little, white clouds for our breakfast.  Outside was the sounds of my sibs sledding down an impossibly long hill, as snowflakes canvassed the yard.  Soon I would be joining them outside but for now the aroma of baking goods and my dog, Bandit, asleep in my lap, would hold me captive for a time.  Later, there would be stories from these ancient folks, most of them true, of other forgotten eras.  Then gramps would turn on the Victrola and the crooning sounds of Bing Crosby trilling, “White Christmas,” would lull me into a magical slumber where anything was possible….
     I’m sure we all have memories of holiday gatherings, and sounds and smells of them seem to rule the roost when it comes to creating those long-ago, buried treasure of a seemingly calmer time.  “Those were the days, my friends, we thought they’d never end….”  But they did and now there is a chance to recreate those times vicariously through the following endeavor from Merideth, Leif, Mont Chris and Brandon, some very cool folks who will warm your hearts…as a concert piece of their show is in the works.  Here is their story and a link as to how you can help:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1852527669/winter-song-concept-album-recording


     “On a cold night by the fire or an icy drive to visit friends or family what music will you listen to this winter?  Winter Song is a collection of songs and stories about the coldest and darkest season that will warm your heart and spark conversation. We need your help to make the album!
With a lush piano and guitar score, songs will include hits by Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot and Paul Simon and will be interspersed with stories and memories of winter. The concert album is inspired by the live performance originated in the Ellyn Bye Studio at the Armory and will feature acclaimed pianist Mont Chris Hubbard, Merideth Kaye Clark and Leif Norby on acoustic guitars and vocals.
     Pre order Winter Song or back the project via Kickstarter at other levels that include tickets to the show at The Armory, VIP backstage tours and much more!
Support the creation now of Winter Song as a holiday gift to yourself, friends and family. Your future self will thank you.”


Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Tempest—The Steep and Thorny Way to Heaven—SE Portland

       “Rough Magic”


     One of Shakespeare’s classic fantasies is directed by Mary McDonald-Lewis.  It is playing at their space, SE 2nd between Madison & Hawthorne, through October 6th.  For more information, go to their site at www.thesteepandthornywaytoheaven.com

     Like many of Shakespeare’s plays, revenge seems always to creep into the story.  It was a popular plot device of that time period.  And another item that is predominant to his plays, including this one, is the art of disguise, one person pretending to be another.  In that vain, one possible aspect about the character of Prospero that is barely hinted at but, in the rather good Sci-Fi flick, “Forbidden Planet” (based on this story), it is fairly blatant.  And this is that Ariel, represents the more spiritual, or feminine, side of Man, while Caliban represents the baser, or more macho, side of Man…and they are both created from within Prospero, not outside of him!  Interesting thought, I surmise, but it would be difficult to enact.

     Prospero (Chris Porter) is Lord and Master of his own private isle, with his daughter, Miranda (Katie Mortemore), having been exiled from his own kingdom by his duplicitous brother, Antonio (Wendy Wilcox) and his friend, Sebastian (Peyton McCandless).  And it just happens that they, and a former friend of Prospero’s, Alonso (Lance Woolen) and his son, Ferdinand (Rega Lupo), are aboard this ship at sea as well.  His magic causes a storm to ensure and they are all cast onto his isle.  Others onboard this ill-fated ship are a couple of sots, Trinculo (Zed E. Jones) and his rummy pal, Stephano (Elizabeth Neal).

     The purpose of this abduction is simply revenge, on Prospero’s part, of his kingdom being usurped.  And he has a couple of confederates of his own to help him.  There is the petulant, shiftless slave, Caliban (Nikolas Horaites), part-man, part-beast, it seems, and the engaging sprite, Ariel (Megan Skye Hale, Artistic Director of the company), who are to aid him in his plot.  Ariel is then to be released from servitude when all is done.  And the rest of the story (which I cannot tell you without being a spoiler) is something “…that dreams are made on.”

     The setting and directing, by McDonald-Lewis, in such a confined space is magical in itself.  Every inch of the theatre is used, plus the audience area at times, which makes it truly an “immersive” experience. Porter has the look and bearing of the instigator of the proceedings and Horaites, as the beast, plays him more of a bratty kid just wanting to be naughty and that works for the character.  Jones and Neal are fine comic foils and Woolen is believable as a good but conflicted nobleman.  And Hale is terrific as the fairy spirit, as her attentive manner and methodical movements are of an actor immersed in her character.

     The play, at times, did lack a certain consistency of energy and urgency that the story should have.  I felt it needed more drive at times.  But the space is well-used and the actors do “speak the speech…trippingly on the tongue.”  And Hale is not only a good actor but their shows also reveal her talents as a costume designer, always inventive.  And the sound and lighting, by Myrrh Larsen (creative director of the company), in such a small space, is very clever.

     I recommend this production.  If you do see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Private Eyes—Twilight Theater Company—N. Portland


            “Eye of the Beholder”

     This avant-garde play is written by Stephen Dietz and directed by Paul Roder.  It is playing at their space, 7515 N. Brandon Ave. (upstairs) at the corner of Lombard (small, free, parking lot across the street from the theater entrance), through September 23rd.  For more information, go to their site at www.twilighttheatercompany.org

     As the ole, short story goes...once there was a man who dreamed he was a butterfly…or was he a butterfly dreaming he was a man?!  The point being, what do we really know of Reality, or Truth.  It depends on your own perception of such things.  I heard recently that the ole adage that politicians constantly lie is not true.  They just have their own version/perception of what is true/real and what is not…but that’s true of all of us, isn’t it?  Police have often said that eyewitnesses are the most unreliable form of evidence because of, again, different perceptions of the same scene.

     And so, in this story, we have a man, perhaps by the name of Matthew (Conor J. Nolan), who is auditioning an actress, perhaps by the name of Lisa (Danyelle Tinker), for the part of a waitress in a play.  But are they who they seem, as a man has just stepped out of the audience suddenly, perhaps a director named Adrian (Jay Hash), and insists that the scene be redone!

     And maybe Lisa and Matthew are married, and in a play together, directed by Adrian.  And possibly Adrian and Lisa are having an affair (or are they?) and wanting to confess.  And maybe their sloppy server, Cory (Rachel Roscoe), in the restaurant they go to for lunch, is not who she seems…maybe she’s tailing them…or even familiar with them.  And, perhaps, that other voice from the darkness, Frank (Alicia Turvin), that keeps stopping the action to discuss the mental state of Matthew, is not who she seems, either….

     And did I just reveal some spoilers…or not?  Confused?  It’s deliberate, such is the style of this play.  “All the world’s a stage and men and women merely players….” Like a good mystery, with dozens of plot twists and turns, it is for the “eye of the beholder,” we, the audience, to decide what is real and what is not.  A very clever story and worth experiencing, if you like puzzles.

     This would be a difficult story to tell and act by any troupe, but the cast here is all first-rate and they, and their very accomplished director, have done a first-rate job with it, too.  Nolan, Tinker and Hash, as the main culprits, keep you guessing throughout, and Roder has a firm hand on keeping things in control, but just slightly askew, as it should be.

     This is definitely worth seeing for the mystery buffs among you.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.

--DJS

Monday, September 10, 2018

There’s No Business Like Show Business—Portland Musical Theater Company—N. Portland


“To Soothe the Savage Beast”

     This musical revue, of staged musicals from the 40’s and 50’s, is created and directed by Deanna Maio.  It is playing at the Peninsula Odd Fellows Lodge, 4834 N. Lombard St., through October 7th.  For more information, go to their site at www.portlandmusicaltheater.org

     Most music, it is said, has a calming effect on people/animals, in which they can deal better with conflicts in the outside world.  So, what better way to chill out than to have some outstanding singers, fabulous songs and rousing/lulling tunes to fly you away on a magic carpet ride to lands where things work out, eventually, for the better, and knowing that your brief time in this magical state will enable you to recharge your batteries for any adversity that lies ahead.  “If music be the food of love [and peace], play on!”

     The 40’s & 50’s had a multitude of musicals, which was sorely needed during the War and Post-War eras, to pull us back to a more understanding stance on issues.  They had Kiss Me Kate, Guys & Dolls, Carousel, South Pacific, Damn Yankees, The Music Man, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, West Side Story, Annie Get Your Gun, et. al.  It was a wonderous time in which, if we could not destroy Evil, at least we could push it aside for a spell, as Good regained its footing…and music certainly was the elixir for that nasty bug that had prevailed for a time.

     All the familiar songs are here, from sweet/haunting ballads, Goodnight My Someone, Maria and If I Loved You…to the inspiring You’ll Never Walk Alone, the rousing 76 Trombones…and more.  And the singers (Amanda Mehl, Cody Meadows, Bronwyn Jones, Carissa Zubricky, Lydia Ellis-Curry, Nathan Willbanks, Tristan James Stewart, Teriyaki Jefferson and Thomas McAulay) mainly in chorus for most songs, nailed them all!

     There are some of them that had solos and I wanted to tout them as raising the bar even higher because of their special qualities.  Jones, Jefferson and Mehl, all gave that something extra when they trod the stage in solo moments.  Their voices and characterizations are exceptional.  I see good things for them coming…as well as all the cast, having something special that would rival any of the big cast musical players in town!

     And Maio, as well as heading and founding the company, is amazing, creating and casting all these revues over the years.  My friend remarked, “she pretty well can do everything, can’t she?”  Yep, that pretty well sums her up…and well, too, I would add.  A tempest in the making, as she forges forward, I believe!  In the future, watch for the amusing Not Another Christmas Letter, in December and Tenderly in April, with Maio as Rosemary Clooney—you don’t want to miss this one!

     I highly recommend this show.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Skeleton Crew—Artists Rep—SW Portland



A Union of Misfit Souls

     This stirring production, playing to a full house on the opening night of their 36th successful season, is written by Dominique Morisseau and directed by William (Bill) Earl Ray.   It is playing at their space, 1515 SW Morrison St., through September 30th.  For more information, go to their site at www.artistsrep.org or call 503-241-1278.

     Morisseau is a worthy scribe, in the vain of many fine writers of their extended neighborhoods, including shades of Studs Turkel (Chicago), a wee dose of Damon Runyon (Brooklyn) and a worthy tribute to the late, great, August Wilson (Philly).  She exemplifies her town, Detroit, and the plight of its characters, as those other fine authors did.  And she does it very, very well!

     We all probably have had love/hate relationships with our jobs and the people who have worked beside us, much like the ups and downs in an extended (perhaps, somewhat dysfunctional) family.  And, in this case, they may be one of the last vestiges of a dying industry, the automobile factory.  Morisseau’s title, “Skeleton Crew,” seems to refer to a minimum group of trained individuals trying valiantly to keep up with the demands of a slowing economy.  Or, maybe, it also reflects the motley gathering of individuals, stripped to the bone emotionally, as they feel their lives being sucked out of them.

     The opening, and subsequent occasional scenes, are powerful, as you visualize silhouettes of individuals (Jeff George, Leslie North and McKensie Rummel) moving to the organic/orgasmic rhythms, in dance-like movements (choreographer, Kemba Shannon), reflecting the stresses and precision of working on an assembly line.  A direct homage to Charlie Chaplin’s terrific film of the 30’s, “Modern Times,” detailing artistically, the birth of the Industrial Revolution.

     The story is character-driven by four individuals representing, in a way, a microcosm of America.  It all takes place in the breakroom of an automobile factory in Detroit.  There is the Foreman of the group, Reggie (Bobby Bermea) a representative of the management of the company, a caring man who sometimes has a difficult job on his hands, when attempting to herd his flock.  He also has a personal connection to Faye (Shelley B. Shelley), an employee for almost 30 years and the union representative.  She is outspoken and fair, but has her own set of burdens on a personal level to deal with, too.

     Then, there are the younger members of the clan, Dez (Vin Shambry), who is a hard-worker but a rebel.  He has dreams of owning his own garage with his son but seems remote to the rest when dealing with his own personal feelings.  There is also Shanita (Tamera Lyn), who loves her job and has probably the most spotless record in the company of all the employees.  She has dreams of having a family and retiring from the company in years to come.  They all, like a mirror, reflect recognizable individuals in our own worlds.

     I can’t tell you more of the story because much of it is learned as you witness it unfold before your eyes.  But, trust me, it is quite illuminating and very engrossing, well directed by Ray, who has chosen an exemplar cast and seems to be in touch with an actor’s processes in developing a character, as well as precisely representing the voice of the author.  The same can be said for Shannon and her dancers.

     And what a cast!  Lyn is both heart-breaking and exasperating, at times, as she goes through changes in her own life, as well as the factory’s.  Shambry accurately reflect the restlessness of a man who seems to have “a rocket in his pocket” but also seems to enjoy his position of “putting it out there” when no one else will.  And Bermea, as the conflicted “Sargent” of the troop, is marvelous in his portrayal of a good man seeing wrong and at odds when trying to “toe the line.”  And Shelley is stunning as the “conscience” of the pack, a woman with her own baggage forced, because of her good-hearted nature, to shoulder burdens of others as well.  Very beautifully performed.

     I highly recommend this production.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

Friday, September 7, 2018

Ann—Triangle Productions!—NE Portland


       Plain Speaking

     This one-woman show starring Margie Boule’ as Governor of Texas, Ann Richards (1990-94), written by Holland Taylor and directed and designed by Donald Horn, is playing at their space, 1785 NE Sandy Blvd. (Free parking lot, W. of the bldg.), through September 23rd.  For more information, go to their site at www.trianglepro.org or call 503-239-5919.

      “Where have all the flowers gone…gone, long time passing…when will they ever learn…when will they, ever learn?!”  An anthem, perhaps, for all the mavericks in the world, like Ann, and the honorable, late, John McCain, who descend like a whirlwind onto our little planet, left an indelible mark, then are gone too soon.  It is not just the loss of them that is tragic, but the fact that their noble impact to make this world a better place, has, or will, fade with time.  It is good to do good but only if it lasts.  Unfortunately, Time has taught us, it does not.

     Ann (Boule’) cared about people, all people of all races and beliefs, as she was schooled with those innocents who, until they are “carefully taught” otherwise, do see each other as equals.  She grew up with a strong, loving father and mother, who taught her she could do anything and be anyone she wanted.  So, she married her high-school sweetheart, David (a Civil Rights lawyer), had four kids (all of which, as adults, deal with the public now) and herself became County Commissioner, then Governor of Texas (the first female elected to the office) for one term.

     While in office, she did a great deal for women’s rights, prison reform, education, the economy, gun control, etc.  But she was also faced with an oft-times, inept staff and bureaucracy, as we see in the play, as we are invited to spend one day in the office of the Governor and the insanity that encompasses it, except for the voice of her Secretary (Kelsey Bentz), which seems to be the only sound of sanity that invades this chaos.

     Perhaps, in my opinion, her most lasting contributions were her ability to speak plainly, sans political jargon, and restore a “We the People…” concept, from the Constitution, to the way government operates, and to work with the common folk.  This lesson, unfortunately, is sorely missing from our current administration and now, without McCain, from Congress, as well (just a thought, but I think she and McCain would have made one hell-of-a team in the White House), what happens next?  Where are all those off-springs of these mavericks to lead us now.  Some hope is emerging with the Youth who voiced their opinions strongly against gun-violence in the schools, and the current MeToo Movement.  We can only hope the batons from Ann and John will be passed to some of them.

     This play is remarkably in touch with the current political and social climate now.  And Horn has, once again, brought us a piece that educates us, challenges us, as well as entertains us…long may he reign!  And Boule’ is, once again, a force of nature on the stage, one that is unbeatable when treading the boards.  She immerses herself so fully into the persona of the role that the appearance of the real character seems to pale by comparison…and that’s one amazing feat! 

     In fact, she was so transformed that in the party afterwards, while chatting with Don, I asked if she was going to make an appearance.  He directed my attention to the fact that she had been standing near us with another group of people for several minutes…boy, was I embarrassed, as I had actually met her several times.  But that’s the power of an Artist like Boule’.

     I highly recommend this play, especially for the artistry of Boule’.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Sparkle Recognition 2017 - 2018

As I See It ...
Dennis Sparks

Once again, I have accumulated what I believe are unique, artistic achievements for the Season (September 1st, 2017 to August 31st, 2018) and awarded each of them a Sparkle Recognition mention in the list of about 100+ shows I personally review in a Season.  But, as you will note, unlike other award lists, I do not pick a “winner,” nor is my list confined to necessarily “5 nominees” in each category.  My list contains as many, or as few, as I deem “special” or “unique” in some way(s).

I do not believe you can compare, for instance, one actor’s performance in a play against another actor’s role in a totally different part and play.  Nor do I understand why there has to be only 5 nominees in category.  For example, I pick a person for a uniqueness that they seem to have, both as a creator and in the role/job they are performing.  That is not to say that there weren’t a wealth of fine artistic achievements done.  There were.  But these particular individuals and/or productions moved me in special, unforgettable ways.



Granted, this is my take alone on the shows this season and, I’m sure, you will note, doesn’t agree with most award lists of “nominees/winners.”  Also it doesn’t encompass all the fine theatres that exist in the Northwest.  All the theatres I do include, have invited me to review their shows.  And, being only one person, I can only review so many at a time.

Also, I do not restrict in any way, the people/companies that I review or are included in my Sparkle list.  The list includes schools, professional theatres, semi-professional, community, et. al. in the Greater Portland area and as far South as OSF in Ashland, OR.  In my opinion a good performance/production is simply good, no matter its pedigree. 
 

I unashamedly admit that I am a supporter of the Arts, having over 40 years myself in all aspects of it.  I attend a production expecting it to be good and, if it falls short, in my opinion, I try to be constructive in my criticism.  Also, you will note in my reviews, that I tend not to spend a lot of time describing the plot but, instead, try to give a flavor of the piece.  I, also, try to make comparisons to similar venues or historical, philosophical or personal histories of the times to, hopefully, enlighten the audience, as to what they may be seeing/experiencing.

Some of the most unique productions for this period are:   Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Henry V and Manahatta, both totally captivating and thoroughly entertaining productions.
Also note-worthy are OCT’s Young Professionals with Jasper in Deadland and NWCT’s Chitra, The Girl Prince both very provocative and inventive.  Also clever was Portland Playhouse’s original musical, Scarlet, which was dynamite. My personal favorites at Artists Rep. were Magellancia, a unique take on an important issue and the haunting, I And You.  Powerful issues of Youth dynamics were evident in PAC’s Good Kids and family dynamics in Lyon’s Of Good Stock.  The always very original B&B offered their take on Dickens writing A Christmas Carol and Crave tackled other ghostly happenings with Crossing…and many others are listed below.  In short , a very good year for the performing arts!


(Some personal observations regarding recognizing the Arts:  The Media gives a lot of attention to current events, sports and weather, etc. but almost none that focuses on the Arts.  Likewise, many land/building owners seem to be following that lead in downgrading the Arts and raising prices that, I’m sure they realize, Art groups cannot afford with their extremely limited budgets. 
Also parking is a problem in many parts of town where theatre spaces reside and it would behoove a business or religious institution to reach out and offer their parking lots when they are not in operation.  So, please, if you are one of these organizations or know one, go the extra mile and give this precious commodity, the Arts, a chance to survive!)

My blog now has over 300,000 views, which is not too shabby in the six+ years I have had my blog in existence and I have been asked to join the American Theatre Critics’ organization.   And other champions around the Arts are an unending gratitude to my electronic muse, Jennifer, for creating my blog and Dave for maintaining it.  A special “shout-out,” too, to Ronnie Lacroute and the WillaKenzie Estate, who may be the most priceless supporter local theatre has!  And when theatres/artists put links to my reviews on their sites, it only enhances the readership and, hopefully, your audiences.  In case you’d rather scan the list to find your own company, the theatres (right-hand column) are listed alphabetically (more or less). 

So, without any further exposition, may we have the envelopes please . . .

Outstanding Productions -- Musical
Play
Theatre
Under the Influence
Fuse Theatre Ensemble
Mamma Mia!
Broadway Rose
Cabaret
Fuse Theatre Ensemble
Cabaret
Lakewood Theatre Company
Cinderella
NW Children’s Theater
Chitra:  The Girl Prince
NW Children’s Theatre
Peter Pan
NW Children’s Theatre
A Year with Frog & Toad
Oregon Children’s Theatre
Fun Home
Portland Center Stage
Scarlet
Portland Playhouse
Folk City
Stumptown Stages
Evita
Stumptown Stages
Jasper in Deadland
Young Professionals Company (OCT)


Outstanding Directors – Musical

Director
Play
Theatre
Sara Fay Goldman & Rusty Tennant
Under the Influence
Fuse Theatre Ensemble
Lyn Cramer
Mamma Mia!
Broadway Rose
Rusty Tennant
Cabaret
Fuse Theatre Ensemble
Ron Daum
Cabaret
Lakewood Theatre Company
Sarah Jane Hardy
Cinderella
NW Children’s Theater
Sarah Jane Hardy & Anita Menon
Chitra:  The Girl Prince
NW Children’s Theatre
John Ellingson
Peter Pan
NW Children’s Theatre
Dani Baldwin
A Year with Frog & Toad
Oregon Children’s Theatre
Chris Coleman
Fun Home
Portland Center Stage
Brian Weaver & Jessica Wallenfels
Scarlet
Portland Playhouse
Kirk Mouser
Folk City
Stumptown Stages
Kirk Mouser
Evita
Stumptown Stages
Dani Baldwin
Jasper in Deadland
Young Professionals Company (OCT)

Outstanding Choreographers

Choreographer
Play
Theatre
Laura Hiszczynskyj
Cabaret
Lakewood Theatre Company
Kate Mura
Cabaret
Fuse Theatre Ensemble
Lyn Cramer
Mamma Mia!
Broadway Rose
Sarah Jane Hardy
Cinderella
NW Children’s Theater
Sarah Jane Hardy & Anita Menon
Chitra:  The Girl Prince
NW Children’s Theatre
Sara Mishler Martins
A Year with Frog & Toad
Oregon Children’s Theatre
Sarah Jane Hardy
Peter Pan
NW Children’s Theatre
Eric Zimmer
Evita
Stumptown Stages

Outstanding Musical Directors

Musical Director
Play
Theatre
Matt Insley
Under the Influence
Fuse Theatre Ensemble
Alan D. Lytle
Mamma Mia!
Broadway Rose
Matt Insley
Cabaret
Fuse Theatre Ensemble
Beth Noelle
Cabaret
Lakewood Theatre Company
Jeffrey Childs
A Year with Frog & Toad
Oregon Children’s Theatre
Abdul Hyamid Royal
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Portland Center Stage
Eric Nordin
Scarlet
Portland Playhouse
Adam Young
Evita
Stumptown Stages



Outstanding Ensembles – Musical
Play
Theatre
Under the Influence
Fuse Theatre Ensemble
Cabaret
Fuse Theatre Ensemble
Chitra:  The Girl Prince
NW Children’s Theatre
A Year with Frog & Toad
Oregon Children’s Theatre
Fun Home
Portland Center Stage
All Hands On Deck
Portland Musical Theater Company
The Sensational Sixties
Portland Musical Theater Company
Spring Awakening
Staged!
Folk City
Stumptown Stages
Evita
Stumptown Stages
Jasper in Deadland
Young Professionals Company (OCT)

Outstanding Performances in a Leading Role, Male – Musical
Actor
Role
Play
Theatre
Joe Theissen
Nathan
Guys & Dolls
Broadway Rose
Kurt Raimer
Anatoly
Chess
Lakewood Theatre Company
Chuck Ketter
Emcee
Cabaret
Lakewood Theatre Company
Ernie Lijoi
Emcee
Cabaret
Fuse Theatre Ensemble
Heath Hyun Houghton
Madan
Chitra:  The Girl Prince
NW Children’s Theatre
Isaac Lamb
Rev. Dimsdale
Scarlet
Portland Playhouse


Outstanding Performances in a Leading Roll, Female – Musical
Actor
Role
Play
Theatre
Courtney Freed
Florence
Chess
Lakewood Theatre Company
Peggy Taphorn
Donna
Mamma Mia!
Broadway Rose
Emily Sahler
Adelaide
Guys & Dolls
Broadway Rose
Kelly Sina
Sally Bowles
Cabaret
Lakewood Theatre Company
Gwendolyn Duffy
Sally Bowles
Cabaret
Fuse theatre Ensemble
Alisha Menon
Chitra
Chitra:  The Girl Prince
NW Children’s Theatre
Deidrie Henry
Billie Holiday
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Portland Center Stage
Rebecca Teran
Hester
Scarlet
Portland Playhouse
Laura McCulloch
Christine
Phantom
Stumptown Stages
Joann Coleman
Karen
Folk City
Stumptown Stages

Outstanding Performances in a Supporting Role, Male – Musical
Actor
Role
Play
Theatre
Ron Daum
Herr Schultz
Cabaret
Lakewood Theatre Company
Glenn Williams
Herr Schultz
Cabaret
Fuse Theatre Ensemble
Darius Pierce
Roger
Scarlet
Portland Playhouse

Outstanding Performances in a Supporting Role, Female – Musical
Actor
Role
Play
Theatre
Maggie Chapin
Fraulein Schneider
Cabaret
Lakewood Theatre Company
Lisamarie Harrison
Tanya
Mamma Mia!
Broadway Rose
Laura McCulloch
Rosie
Mamma Mia!
Broadway Rose
Dmae Roberts
Fraulein Schneider
Cabaret
Fuse Theatre Ensemble
Susannah Mars
Anne
Scarlet
Portland Playhouse
Elizabeth Hadley
Carlotta
Phantom
Stumptown Stages
Cassandra Pangelinan
Mistress, et. al.
Evita
Stumptown Stages

Outstanding Productions – Non-Musical
Play
Theatre
Magellancia
Artists Rep
I and You
Artists Rep
Crossing
Crave Theatre
Of Good Stock
Lyon Theatre
Three Sisters
NW Classical Theatre Collaborative
Henry V
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Manahatta
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Fences
Portland Playhouse
Good Kids
Portland Actors Conservatory
The Events
Third Rail Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Directors – Non-Musical

Director
Play
Theatre
Dámaso Rodriguez
Magellancia
Artists Rep
JoAnn Johnson
I and You
Artists Rep
Sarah Andrews
Crossing
Crave Theatre
Devon Lyon
Of Good Stock
Lyon Theatre
Patrick Walsh
Three Sisters
NW Classical Theatre Collaborative
Rosa Joshi
Henry V
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Mary Kathryn Nagle
Manahatta
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Lou Bellamy
Fences
Portland Playhouse
Beth Harper
Good Kids
Portland Actors Conservatory
Scott Yarbrough
The Events
Third Rail Repertory Theatre
Tobias Andersen
Antigone
Twilight Theater Company


Outstanding Ensembles – Non-Musical            
Play
Theatre
Octoroon
Artists Rep
The Humans
Artists Rep
Magellancia
Artists Rep
Between Riverside and Crazy
Artists Rep
Charles Dickens Writes A Christmas Carol
Bag & Baggage Theatre
Belfast Girls
Corrib Theatre
This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing
CoHo Productions
Human Noise
Imago Theatre
The Brothers Paranormal
MediaRites’ Theatre Diaspora
The Mermaid Hour
Milagro
Three Sisters
NW Classical Theatre Collaborative
Manahatta
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Good Kids
Portland Actors Conservatory
Kodachrome
Portland Center Stage
The Secretaries
Profile Theatre
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Steep and Thorny Way to Heaven
Hand to God
Triangle Productions!
Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some)
Twilight Theater Company
It’s Only A Play
Twilight Theater Company

Outstanding Performances in a Leading Role, Male – Non-Musical
Actor
Role
Play
Theatre
Kevin Jones
“Pops”
Between Riverside and Crazy
Artists Rep
Matthew Kern
Oliver
The Pride
Defunkt Theatre
Ted Rooney
Jimmy
Quietly
Corrib Theatre
Kyle Delamarter
Bobby
Fallout
Imago Theatre
Morgan Lee
Micky
Adroit Maneuvers
Lighthouse Arts
Daniel José Molina
Henry V
Henry V
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Todd Van Voris
Scrooge
A Christmas Carol
Portland Playhouse
Lester Purry
Troy
Fences
Portland Playhouse
Norman Wilson
God
An Act of God
Triangle Productions!
Caleb Sohigian
Jason/Tyrone
Hand to God
Triangle Productions!
Jeff Gibberson
James
It’s Only a Play
Twilight
Theater Company
Paul Roder
Birnam Wood
The Maltese Bodkin
Twilight Theater Company




Outstanding Performances in a Leading Role, Female – Non-Musical
Actor
Role
Play
Theatre
Agatha Day Olson
Chris
Feathers and Teeth
Artists Rep
Kymberli Colbourne
Scrooge
Charles Dickens Writes A Christmas Carol
Bag & Baggage Productions
Sarah McGregor
Hermien
Crossing
Crave Theatre
Jessica Tidd
Sussie
Crossing
Crave theatre
Kylie Jenifer Rose
Ezmerelda
Crossing
Crave Theatre
Elizabeth Jackson
Lula
Dutchman
Defunkt Theatre
Claire Aldridge
Romeo
The Romeo & Juliet Project
Enso theatre Ensemble
Amelia Hillery
Juliet
The Romeo & Juliet Project
Enso Theatre Ensemble
Justine Davis
Lady Rose
La Belle
Imago Theatre
Stephanie Woods
Tater
To Fly Again
Imago Theatre
Diane Kondrat
Tilde
Adroit Maneuvers
Lighthouse Arts
Morgan Cox
Jess
Of Good Stock
Lyon Theatre
Jaime Langton
Celia
Of Good Stock
Lyon Theatre
Kailey Rhodes
Amy
Of Good Stock
Lyon Theatre
Christy Bigelow
Olga
Three Sisters
NW Classical…
Liz Jackson
Masha
Three Sisters
NW Classical…
Dainichia Noreault
Irina
Three Sisters
NW Classical…
Melissa Reeves
Chloe
Good Kids
Portland Actors Conservatory
Erika LaVonn
Rose
Fences
Portland Playhouse
Deone Jennings
Virginia
It’s Only a Play
Twilight Theater Co.

Outstanding Performances in a Supporting Role, Male – Non-Musical
Actor
Role
Play
Theatre
Leif Norby
Hitler
Adroit maneuvers
Lighthouse Arts
Bobby Bermea
Gabriel
Fences
Portland Playhouse

Outstanding Performances in a Supporting Role, Female – Non-Musical
Actor
Role
Play
Theatre
Kymberli Colbourne
Madame Arcati
Blithe Spirit
Bag & Baggage
Jessica Ko
Katherine, et. al.
Henry V
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Kimberly Scott
Pistol, et. al.
Henry V
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Sara Bruner
Mercutio
Romeo and Juliet
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Shelia Tousey
Mother
Manahatta
Oregon Shakespeare Festival




Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role, Male – Small Cast (one to three people)
Actor
Role
Play
Theatre
Gavin Hoffman
Merrick
…Watson Intelligence
CoHo Productions
Blake Stone
Anthony
I and You
Artists Rep
Nathan Dunkin
Gerardo
Death and the Maiden
Bag & Baggage Productions
Anthony Green
Dr. Miranda
Death and the Maiden
Bag & Baggage Productions
Eric Martin Reid
Watson
…Watson Intelligence
CoHo Productions
Todd Van Voris
“Visitor”
Title and Deed
Imago Theatre
Lawrence Howard
Storyteller
Polar Opposites…
Portland Story Theater
Leif Norby
“Truman Capote”
A Christmas Memory
Portland Center Stage
Joseph Gibson
The Boy
The Events
Third Rail Repertory Theatre
Gary Norman
Lady Bright
Madness of Lady Bright
Triangle Productions!
Matthew Sunderland
George/Christine
TRANS-formation
Triangle Productions!
Todd Van Voris
DeSantis, et. al.
The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey
Triangle Productions!

Outstanding Performances in a Leading Role, Female – Small Cast (one to two people)
Actor
Role
Play
Theatre
Emily Eisele
Caroline
I and You
Artists Rep
Mandana Khoshnevisan
Paulina
Death and the Maiden
Bag & Baggage Productions
Siobhan O’Loughlin
“Siobhan”
Broken Bone Bathtub
B/B/B Productions
Sarah Ellis Smith
Eliza
…Watson Intelligence
CoHo Productions
Britt Harris
Beth
Lifeboat
Corrib Theatre
Kayla Lian
Bess
Lifeboat
Corrib Theatre
Vanessa Hopkins
Helen
Heaven or Helen
Late Bloomers Inc.
Courtney Freed
“Courtney”
Don’t Stop Me Now The Freddie Mercury Experience
Live On Stage
Nikki Weaver
Nikki
Weaving Women Together
Portland Playhouse
Allison Mickelson
Lisa
2.5 Minute Ride
Profile Theatre
Jessica Tidd
Storyteller
The Rape of Lucrece
Street Scenes
Maureen Porter
Claire
The Events
Third Rail Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Technical Designers – Scenic/Lighting/Sound

Designer
Play
Theatre
SETS


Megan Wilkerson (scenic)
The Humans
Artists Rep
Phil Johnson (sound)
The Humans
Artists Rep
Stephanie Kerley Schwartz (scenic)
Magellancia
Artists Rep
Carl Faber
Magellancia
Artists Rep
Tim Stapleton
I and You
Artists Rep
Jim Ricks-White (lighting)
Charles Dickens Writes A Christmas Carol
Bag & Baggage
Tyler Buswell (set)
Blithe Spirit
Bag & Baggage
Bryan Boyd (set)
Mamma Mia!
Broadway Rose
Max Ward (scenic)
Crossing
Crave Theatre
John Gerth (scenic)
To Kill A Mockingbird
Lakewood Theatre Company
David Chandler, Kelly Rauer & Vanessa Hopkins (scenic/video projection design)
Heaven or Helen
Late Bloomers Inc.
Blanca Forzán (scenic design and painting)
Astucias Por Heredar
Milagro
John Ellingson (scenic/props)
Chitra:  The Girl Prince
NW Children’s Theatre
Collette Pollard (scenic)
Sense and Sensibility
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Will Cotter (projection design)
Kodachrome
Portland Center Stage
Michael Schweikardt (scenic)
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Portland Center Stage

Outstanding Designers – Costumes/Props/Make-up/Combat

Designer
Play
Theatre
Wanda Walden (costumes)
Octoroon
Artists Rep
Melissa Heller (costumes)
Charles Dickens Writes A Christmas Carol
Bag & Baggage Productions
Allison Dawe (costumes)
Mamma Mia!
Broadway Rose
Ryan J. Moller (costumes)
Guys & Dolls
Broadway Rose
Grace O’Malley (costumes)
Cabaret
Lakewood Theatre Company
Mary Eggers (costumes)
Cinderella
NW Children’s Theater
Mary Eggers (costumes)
Chitra:  The Girl Prince
NW Children’s Theater
Kristen Mun (combat)
Chitra:  The Girl Prince
NW Children’s Theatre
Nancy Christy (costumes)
Peter Pan
NW Children’s Theatre
John Ellingson (puppets)
Peter Pan
NW Children’s Theatre
Sarah Gahagan (costumes)
A Year with Frog & Toad
Oregon Children’s Theatre
Fabio Toblini (costumes)
Sense and Sensibility
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Leah Piehl (costumes)
Romeo and Juliet
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Margaret Louise Chapman (costumes)
Phantom
Stumptown Stages
Combat/Fight Coordinator—Murri Lazaroff-Babin
Hand to God
Triangle Productions!


Special Recognition

The tap-dancing Chorus
Cinderella
NW Children’s Theatre
Ronni Lacroute
For her generous support of theatre in this area—you are special!
Willakenzie Estate!
Jennifer Larson-Cody
For having faith in me, thank you—you are my electronic muse!
My Blog Creator & Manager
David Hudkins
Good friend and current blog manager
Blog Manager